Soka University of America New Performing Arts Center and Academic Facilities
Aliso Viejo, CA

Soka University in planning for the Performing Arts Center project, wanted to create an innovative environment that delivers an excellent audio and visual experience for performers and audiences alike. The new building features a 1,200-seat multipurpose hall, a 200-seat black box theater, support spaces and classrooms.

Sustainability was a central component from the onset. Syska incorporated the use of various modeling tools to help achieve the LEED Gold goal. Energy modeling simulations were performed, which showed an overall energy cost savings of about 25% over the baseline. To that end, a 140 kW photovoltaic system will generate an estimated 7.5% of the energy needed. Fixed sunshades on the multipurpose hall’s exterior reduce heat gain in the main lobby, yet permit visibility. Automatic daylight responsive dimmable lighting controls were included in all classrooms and both blackbox and multipurpose hall lobbies.

Displacement ventilation system was utilized to supply cooler air near the floor, pushing warmer air away from occupants in academic and theater spaces. The hall also features adjustable floor diffusers below most seats, allowing audience members to adjust airflow. Water-saving features employed include low-flow water fixtures and high-efficiency instantaneous gas water heaters. All told, the project is expected to use 45% less water than a conventionally designed building. Based on the optimal energy performance of the building Syska was able to help Soka receive rebates from the local utility company, as well as introduce state and federal incentives available due to the PV system.


96,810 sf